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By Contributing Mama Erin Butler

There are several things about motherhood that has surprised me.

How after nearly two years, every night before I go to bed, I still have to put my hand on my daughter to check if she is breathing.

How before we go anywhere there is a minimum of 30 minutes prep time, not including the inevitable three diaper changes before we actually get into the car.

But most of all, how incredibly lonely motherhood can be.

I always envisioned myself enthralled in playgroups and mommy and me classes combined with hours of non-stop activities at home.

I never thought there would be days when we would play with all her toys, read all her books, have no place to go, not one person to talk to and be staring at each other with boredom by 11:30am.

Don’t mistake this for being ungrateful, because I am 100% thankful for the opportunity to stay home with her, but sometimes, despite being with this smiley little face 24/7…


There are days I feel completely alone.

My friends are fabulous but I wish our lives paralleled a little more. Some of them work, some have numerous children to juggle and others live countless states away. Moving to a new town right before having a baby has proved to be social suicide.

Sadly, the one mommy friend I made in town eventually went back to work several months after her son was born. Apparently being able to pay her mortgage was more important than the every day debate of whether to use Desitin or Triple-Paste. And while we are still good friends, I no longer have my beckon call mom for a daily sanity coffee break.

So I put myself back out there and opened my heart for someone new to come into my life. I immersed us in Gymboree classes, library story times, swimming lessons and Parks & Rec activities with the hopes of making friends along the way.

And it turns out; it’s as bad as dating. Maybe even worse.

There was the woman at the park; who I hit it off with immediately. She asked for my number, promised fabulous get-togethers and never called. To make things worse, she blatantly ignored me when we ran into each other a month later at the sandbox.

There was the neighbor who, upon our first meeting, told me numerous stories about her three children that often concluded with the phrase “…and she threatened to call social services again.”

And finally, there was the woman at the library, who told me flat out she wasn’t interested in play dates because they planned on moving in three years and she didn’t want any ties to the community.

If there was ever a town clearly in desperate need of a Welcome Club, this is it.

It is too much to ask to find my mommy soul mate? Someone who secretly eats their child’s Earth’s Best Oatmeal Cinnamon cookies, sometimes loses library books and is counting down until their child’s second birthday so they can allow her to watch “Sesame Street” without worrying about it corroding her growing brain?

I mean, just as an example.

I know this won’t last forever and one day my social circle will expand again. And as lonely as I feel I won’t wish away this time because it is already slipping by faster than I can process.

Instead, I am trying to embrace these moments when it’s just us, remembering that she doesn’t care where we are, what we are doing or who else is with us.

Because I am her mommy. Her everything. And that is all that matters.


So for now, it’s just me and the little one.

And that’s definitely not a bad thing.

26 Responses to stay at home mom seeks same

  • Terra says:

    oh Erin, I could have written this post 7 years ago. When my first was a toddler we were bored by 9am – I was so alone, so tired from playing all the time and so trying very hard to love each and every minute. Truth is, staying home is the hardest job you will ever have. My girls are almost 9 and almost 4 now…life is different, I volunteer at their schools, I run my blogs, I have friends that have the same schedules that I do…but I remember those days. I spent my evenings planning the next day and I would still run out of things to do by noon. All I can say is you are not alone, it will get “different” Ihate to say better and I love that you have this precious time with your daughter even when it is hard.

  • Erin! You are singing my song! We just moved to Silicon Valley (which is a weird place in and of itself) from London. Before that we were in Dallas, surrounded my so many awesome friends and my family.

    I’ve joined THE mom’s group in the area and even have regular playdates with another group of moms/babies, but I still haven’t found another mom that I juts “click” with… Clearly, it’s not from lack of trying 🙂

    With a 3 yo and another on the way, it’s not that I need something else to do, but I just wish there was someone fun and nice and “in the same place in life” that I could call just to say to talk or ask drop by and see on a whim.

    In the meantime, there’s a barely a post that goes unread in my Google Reader 🙂

    Thank goodness for the Internet!!

  • Amy@UWM says:

    I got a glimpse of those days when my kids were younger and I was working part-time. You might want to look into an organization called “Mothers and More.” It’s specifically designed for moms who used to be career women and now are home with their kids either full or part-time. There are local chapters in tons of communities. They do alot of playgroups and other activities and it could be a great way to meet other moms. Most of the women who join are just like you — looking for mommy friends to play with. And if there’s not a chapter in your town, maybe you could start one! I was never very involved myself, but it was something that I kept on the back burner for if/when I quit my job.

  • Jessica says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. Two years ago, I left my friends and family to move 4 hours away to take a chance on love. Two weeks after I moved in, my now husband’s ex fell off the face of the earth and my now daughter began living with us full time. Not only did I not have any friends in the area, but I had no one to ask mommy questions to and I had no idea how to be a mommy! Two years later and I still don’t have any mommy friends, but at least I’m getting a hang of being a mommy!

  • Daphne says:

    You are not alone. When I put myself out there to a mommy at Barnes + Noble years ago I was told “No thanks. I’ve been burned by mommies before.” Keep trying, your mommy soul-mate is out there (or at least out here in cyber-space!)

  • Chris says:

    There’s a book called “The Mask of Motherhood” by Susan Maushart. I think the feelings of loneliness and isolation you described are more common than many women want to admit. It goes without saying we adore our children, but these are different times than when our mothers and their mothers were raising children. Sounds like you’re smart and have things in perspective. 🙂

  • Carolyn says:

    Oh my. Wonderful post. You are so not alone in your feelings and I think you have tapped into a huge unspoken problem. I moved back to my hometown before I had kids but still there is isolation and loneliness. I have friends but their kids are older, at another school, etc. It’s hard to match up schedules. I’m trying to gear up for summer…where all the rules change. Thanks so much for your honesty. Great post.

  • christy says:

    I totally relate! There is one more organization you should check out though: http://www.momsclub.org

    I’ve been active in this in my community for about four months and it’s really made a difference in my life. I haven’t found a new BFF, but I have found women to go walking with on Wednesdays, to have playdates with on Thursdays, etc. And I’ve joined our local community pool. I have no idea if we’ll meet anyone else there, but I’m optimistic. I wrote about this same topic recently — and was amazed by how many moms chimed in and said they feel the same way too.

    And you’re so right – it IS harder than dating. Ugh. If you happen to live in South Jersey, email me – I promise I’d love to do a playdate!

  • Robyn says:

    I work full-time and it’s just as lonely. All of the playdates and mom group activities happen during the week, during the day when I’m at work.

    I wish you luck in finding your “special someone” — I’m still looking myself!

  • Bryn says:

    I know just how you feel. We moved for my husband’s job two months before my daughter was born. She’ll be two in July and I have yet to make any friends here. We’re across the country from where I grew up and went to college so almost all of my friends are 2000+ miles and 3 time zones away. The phone and e-mail help, but they’re not the same as having someone to spend time with in person. I’m trying the swimming lessons & story hour approach now, but I agree that this is at least as awkward as dating.

  • johanna says:

    I’m cleaning out the closets for consignment to get that house next door here 🙂 the girls would be in heaven. and you know neil would be the pool boy! hang in there. and yes, dating was WAY easier than having 11 hours of toddler activities to create.

  • Mary says:

    Alright…..forget that damn mortgage, I’m going back to stay at home Mommy and we can chat for hours about blow-outs, triple paste and all things toddler! I think when they say a baby changes everything they should be more specific. I wouldn’t change a thing either but it would be nice to be a little more prepared for how isolating it can be! I love you and will always be your go to Mommy….even if it’s nearly impossible to find a playdate or movie night time!

  • Shani says:

    I like your comparison to dating. I’ve always said that it feels like middle school all over again, the way that some moms try to play queen bee (and some go completely out of their way to be rude). And I live in the town I grew up in! It does get better, but slowly. Now that my son goes to a drop-in nursery regularly and is starting “school” three days a week next year that is already hosting events for us, we are meeting more moms and families. Good luck, I know it will happen for you! And thank you SO MUCH for writing this!

  • Sarah says:

    I loved this post. Not only did you express yourself so well, you expressed the sentiments of so many other Moms. I am a work from home Mom and it feels like “stay” sometimes, and there are days when all I get to do is stare at my laptop, the four walls, my kids faces and a tv. It gets lonely and I desperately desire laughter and conversation with adults…but mainly girlfriends. So when I can’t have that in person, it helps to read your blog. Please know that you are bringing joy and laughter to your readers. 🙂

  • Victoria Rexer says:

    Wow Erin,
    You wrote about something that most of us wouldn’t dare admit. But it is so true. Bravo to you.
    The joys of motherhood are indeed bittersweet.

    I agree life for a stay at home parent of a child at any age is not without its immeasurable rewards but sadly there are many hours of great loneliness. Why? I think it is because you are on hold waiting, your interest and priorities don’t come first. The life you had is a distant memory. The life you have now — well its impossible to really define and saying “I’m a stay at home” well that just doesn’t seem to really articulate the massive all encompassing vocation that it is. You are on hold waiting and listening for when your child needs you. That’s your job. (And they need so many different things.) Your child rarely needs you when it is convenient for you and so you learn how to fit your life into the margins of theirs, so that you can be on the ready for them.
    I think the baby stage is the most isolating, toddler stage a little better, but soon at the age 3 and 4 you have preschool and you make playgroups – (a lifesaver for even the most sophisticated mother who swore she would never be in one – the playgroups with wine are the best) then there is kindergarten, and elementary school… your world begins to open up and you find yourself making friendships with parents who are part of your child’s school community or sport activity. You’ll find yourself gravitating to parents who parent like you. (You will be very judgmental about those who don’t).
    Eventually as the years go by you and your child start to build a gradual and natural separation and independence. Sometimes when I look at my son, who is now thirteen I realize it is just a matter of time before he will be out of my home and on his own. The trick of course is to start filling your life back up with your interest so that by the time they leave the nest you are not completely broken hearted with loneliness again.

    I’m sure many a working Mom or psychologist might feel that this is not a healthy way to live…its not for everyone. But for me…it was the only way to be a good parent. I found that missing those moments and not being there when my child needed me was more than I could stomach.

    Your story has helped me with my loneliness– thank you. Hopefully knowing that there are more people out there like you has helped you with yours.

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Do your laundry down at the river; pounding it with a stone. Cook EVERYTHING from scratch; including the veggies you’re growing. Have a set of triplets NOW, and start an affair with a neighborhood Hottie. You won’t have time to kvetch…

  • Ann's Rants says:

    That was so beautiful. And even though I am fortunate enough to have some lovely SAHMs in my life, those very lonely moments still frequent my day-to-day.

  • Attilla the Mum says:

    Erin, I feel for you! I too hit it off at the playground with a mom who had a son the same age as my son; she took my number and said she’d call to set up a Chic Fil-a playdate for us. Then NOTHING. It was worse than being shot down by a cute guy when you finally get up the courage to say “let’s do something sometime.”

  • so funny, i was going to write something along those same lines just haven’t gotten around to it yet. beautifully written and so true. if we lived in the same city, i would seek you out as a SAHM friend!

  • Elissa says:

    I was just walking home from the grocery store after playgroup a few days ago and thinking to myself how lonely I feel. I have lots of local “mom-friends.” The problem is that most of them aren’t real friends…just the few other people in my neighborhood who have kids the same age as mine…so even spending lots of time with them leaves me lonely.
    It’s nice to see that so many other people feel the same way. I love my daughter more than anything in the world and I’m so glad to be able to stay home with her…but I wish I could find that new best friend who shares my place in life and schedule.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Tully's Mama says:

    Erin Erin Erin – How I wish I was an Easterner and lived down the block. Although you know I am a working mama, I would stay home just to be one of your friends and have our daughters grow up together! This was such a beautiful piece. I loved it. You are the best!

  • mom2tot says:

    I work and felt as lonely as you do, so I looked up in meetup.com and joined a group you should do the same

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